Novak Djokovic pushed early but wins Wimbledon opener
Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray drop rebounds to defeat James Duckworth of Australia
No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic withstood an early challenge from South Korean Soon-woo Kwon to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in his opening match at Wimbledon on Monday.
Djokovic, who has won the past three men's singles titles at Wimbledon and six in all, moved to 17-0 in his career in first-round matches on the grass courts at the All England Club in London. He has won 22 straight matches at Wimbledon, this one in two hours, 27 minutes.
"I've said this before but this court is truly special," said Djokovic in his on-court interview after the match. "For me it has always been the court I dreamed of playing and winning (on), and all my childhood dreams came true here so it's an honor and pleasure to be back on Centre Court."
Djokovic hadn't played a tournament match since May 31, when he lost to rival Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the French Open.
The rust showed early in the first set on Monday, when Kwon jumped to a 3-1 lead. But Djokovic rattled off a streak of five straight wins to take the set.
Kwon didn't break the Serbian great's serve again in the match after the first set, with Djokovic saving four of six break chances on the day. Djokovic fired 15 aces and won points on 86 percent -- 54 of 63 -- of his first serves.
Two former Grand Slam champions returning to play from long-term injuries also were in action, with a split verdict in the first round.
No. 10 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy ousted Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, while two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray dropped the first set but rebounded to defeat James Duckworth of Australia 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
"It was amazing to be back out here again with a full crowd," Murray, a 35-year-old from Scotland, said in his on-court interview. "Amazing atmosphere. Obviously I'm getting on a bit now, so I don't know how many more opportunities I (will) get to play on this court, so I want to make the most of every time I get to come out here now. Glad I managed to get through it."
Among the other Top 10 seeds, third seed Casper Ruud of Norway was pushed by Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas but won 7-6 (1), 7-6 (9), 6-2. Spanish youngster Carlos Alcaraz, the fifth seed, survived a five-set, four-hour marathon, defeating Germany's Jan Lennard-Struff 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 behind 30 aces. He had 73 winners to 40 unforced errors.
Seventh-seeded Hubert Hurkacz, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2021, was ousted by another Spaniard, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who pulled off a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (8) win. Home favorite Cameron Norrie, the ninth seed, cruised to a three-set victory over Pablo Andujar of Spain.
Other winners included Americans John Isner, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe, as well as Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.
Kontaveit advances, Collins falls
No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit won her first match since April on Monday, defeating Bernarda Pera 7-5, 6-1 in the opening round of Wimbledon.
Also moving on was the No. 3 seed, Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who posted a quick 6-1, 6-3 victory over Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden.
American Danielle Collins, the No. 7 seed, wasn't as fortunate and became the first woman seeded in the Top 10 to be eliminated at the All-England Club in London. Unseeded Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic topped Collins 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
Kontaveit, of Estonia, battled COVID-19 this spring and was playing in her first match since falling in the first round of the French Open last month.
"It's been pretty exciting, being seeded second. ... I'm really excited to be playing again and really happy that I can compete here," Kontaveit said. "A month ago, I was really having a hard time. I really wouldn't have come here if I wasn't feeling like I could play a match, compete at the highest level.
"I've been feeling better. I mean, there's some times I felt dips in my energy from time to time. But I've been managing it, trying to prepare the best that I can (and) take the most out of the situation I'm in."
Next up for Kontaveit will be German Jule Niemeier, who won her first Grand Slam match against Xiyu Wang of China 6-1, 6-4.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu, the 10th seed, thrilled the home crowd with her 6-4, 6-4 win over Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium.
In the second round, she'll meet Caroline Garcia of France, who was pushed to a third-set tiebreaker by Yuriko Miyazaki of Great Britain.
Other seeded players to win in the opening round were No. 15 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany, No. 24 Elise Mertens of Belgium, No. 26 Sorana Cirstea of Romania, American No. 28 Alison Riske and No. 29 Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine.
Seeded players who were knocked out included No. 22 Martina Trevisan of Italy, No. 23 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil and No. 31 Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
Haddad Maia was upset by Kaja Juvan of Slovenia in three sets. Haddad Maia won on the grass courts of Nottingham and Birmingham leading up to Wimbledon.
Three matches were suspended at the end of the night and will continue Tuesday, including Swiss 14th seed Belinda Bencic's match against China's Qiang Wang. Bencic and Wang were tied through two sets, with Bencic grabbing the second set 7-5.
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